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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Quantitative analysis of organizational culture in occupational health research: a theory-based validation in 30 workplaces of the organizational culture profile instrument

Alain Marchand12*, Victor Y Haines12 and Julie Dextras-Gauthier12

Author Affiliations

1 School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

2 Public Health Research Institute, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:443  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-443

Published: 4 May 2013

Abstract

Background

This study advances a measurement approach for the study of organizational culture in population-based occupational health research, and tests how different organizational culture types are associated with psychological distress, depression, emotional exhaustion, and well-being.

Methods

Data were collected over a sample of 1,164 employees nested in 30 workplaces. Employees completed the 26-item OCP instrument. Psychological distress was measured with the General Health Questionnaire (12-item); depression with the Beck Depression Inventory (21-item); and emotional exhaustion with five items from the Maslach Burnout Inventory general survey. Exploratory factor analysis evaluated the dimensionality of the OCP scale. Multilevel regression models estimated workplace-level variations, and the contribution of organizational culture factors to mental health and well-being after controlling for gender, age, and living with a partner.

Results

Exploratory factor analysis of OCP items revealed four factors explaining about 75% of the variance, and supported the structure of the Competing Values Framework. Factors were labeled Group, Hierarchical, Rational and Developmental. Cronbach’s alphas were high (0.82-0.89). Multilevel regression analysis suggested that the four culture types varied significantly between workplaces, and correlated with mental health and well-being outcomes. The Group culture type best distinguished between workplaces and had the strongest associations with the outcomes.

Conclusions

This study provides strong support for the use of the OCP scale for measuring organizational culture in population-based occupational health research in a way that is consistent with the Competing Values Framework. The Group organizational culture needs to be considered as a relevant factor in occupational health studies.